India raises need for accountability of digital platforms at G20 forum, China listens
Ravi Shankar Prasad raised issues around digital platforms and data security at the G20 Digital Ministers Meet on Wednesday
Union information and technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has called for digital platforms to be responsive, accountable and sensitive to the concerns of sovereign nations as far as safety, defence and privacy is concerned. Prasad raised the issue on Wednesday during the G20 Digital Minister’s Meet hosted by Saudi Arabia.
Prasad’s comments come in the backdrop of India’s ban on 59 Chinese web and mobile applications including TikTok and UC browser due to security concerns.
“In view of these concerns, the digital platforms having presence in many countries must become trustworthy, safe and secure. It is time to acknowledge that digital platforms anywhere in the world have to be responsive and accountable towards the sovereign concerns of countries including defence, privacy and security of citizens,” Prasad was quoted as saying.
China’s digital minister Miao Wei was also in attendance at the virtual meeting. India’s ban on popular Chinese applications came in the aftermath of deadly border clashes with Chinese Army in the eastern Ladakh sector in June this year, which led to casualties on both sides.
Prasad also raised some other very important issues being debated globally related to data security and said that data, too, must belong to the sovereign nation concerned.
“Digital economy must go hand in hand with the Data economy. We need to acknowledge the sovereignty over data. Data must belong to the sovereign nation concerned, to protect also the privacy concern of its people,” Prasad added.
While emphasizing on the data related issues and sovereign rights of countries to protect data privacy and security of its citizens, Prasad mentioned that India was working to establish a robust personal data protection regime through legislation aimed not only to address the data privacy related concerns of citizens but also to ensure availability of data for innovation and economic development.
He also highlighted India’s use of digital technology for fighting the global menace of coronavirus with initiatives like Aarogya Setu mobile app, geo-fencing system for monitoring quarantined patients and Coved-19 Savdhan bulk messaging systems during this meeting.
The role played by digital technology in helping the government provide direct relief to the vulnerable sections of the society through direct cash transfers enabled digitally was also brought up by the minister before the global audience as he underlined national response to the challenges presented by the pandemic.